Gregory Parker has a court date set Oct. 20 in Lake County, Fla., after up to eight trooper and sheriff department officers amassed around him Tuesday night along a dark stretch of toll highway after he had paid his way through a toll booth.
Officers arrested him in a show of force because he bears on the back door of a red pickup truck a legal statement, “Not for Hire,” indicating he was one traveling on the public right of way as a matter of right.
Mr. Parker said he is out on bond and is on a 10-day roofing job in that state, leaving in Rossville, Ga., his wife Kasee and their daughter. Mr. Parker is a tradesman and welder with strong convictions about his rights before God and under the constitution. He has been repeatedly harassed for openly practicing his right to free communication implied in the right under law to free movement of his person and property on the public roads.
He had been stopped by a highway patrol and Lake County sheriff’s department, with one of the officers alleging that Mr. Parker is a “sovereign citizen.”
A TV monitor hearing (evidently with a magistrate), the Tenneseean and four others had a hearing. The magistrate raised a tentative bond from F$500 to $1,000. An prosecutor, appearing on a nearby small TV screen, had demanded the bond be put to $10,000 — further harassment by the legal establishment of independent-minded Americans who fall under the usual slur.
He says he is charged with driving on suspended/revoked/without. He said an officer indicated he is under accusation in Tennessee in driving under DUI, Mr. Parker says. He says he doesn’t know what that is about. His most recent case in Tennessee is dismissed. The officer in Florida, he indicates, was operating under “hearsay evidence” about his record.
Duty to take off tag for private use?
In a phone conversation, I discussed with Mr. Parker the possibility of bearing a registration tag while maintaining his principles of private travel. If the car is registered with the county clerk, converted into a “motor vehicle,” it bears on the back the metal plate, which is proof of tax paid. The police enforce transportation law on all users of the road, commercial and private. A private person of principle could maintain his rights, I suggest, by having all the trappings of commerce (tag, driver license), but travel “on the driver license” only i and when using the road as carrier (for hire, carrying a load, or hauling paying passengers).
Is a private person traveling privately on a particular day required to remove the commercial tag when using the car privately? Is that a known legal duty? The answer is no. So, when one is traveling privately, one rebuts the officer presumption on the side of the road that one is commercial, and subject to commercial enforcement. One insists on the right to probable cause for a crime, not an infraction. Usually, cops have zero probable cause under criminal statute in “traffic stops” (traffic arrests). They are “enforcing” the commercial privilege law of the state, presumptively on a commercial user — commercial at that moment of the encounter.
Might not his life go easier if he bear the trappings of commerce, and resist appropriately if stopped while in private use? Isn’t it terrifying to fear arrest at any time in foreign travels? Might not this accomodation satisfy his conscience and free him from harassment?
I ask about Mrs. Parker — Kasee.
“She’s a little upset about it. It affects her more than it does me,” Mr. Parker says. “She’ll be all right.”
Mr. Parker has a hearing set Oct. 23 in Walker County in a separate case.
Florida law — commercial regulation 100%